Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Go With 'The Flo'

I haven't had any issues around cycling while menstrual, but that doesn't stop my period from being a major preoccupation every month. Recently, I had to play a concert (I'm in a band) under the broiling sun on the second day of my period. Our band uniform is a customized polo shirt and khaki pants-- the last thing I want to wear while on my period. Of course, my dread was confirmed by the end of a very sweaty performance and I had to scoot out of there with my gig bag over my butt.

Normally, my menstrual cup protects me quite well, but something was just off that day. It happens. I'm favoring the lena menstrual cup because it has the capacity to handle the heavy days of my period. I also figured it was worth a shot at $9 less than the discounted Kickstarter price of the Lily Cup Compact, my first menstual cup. These two cups are really different from one another so the most meaningful comparison I can make is that lena cup's capcity is 25 ml (size small) and the Lily Cup Compact has a capacity of 18ml (size A). I believe this is a world of difference as I always seemed to have a hard time getting the Lily Cup to form a seal during the first two days of my period. I had to rely on pantyliners a lot because of leaks. However, the last few days of my period were fine and, considering how soft and flexible the cup is, inserting it was never a problem. The lena cup is more rigid, but still flexible enough to easily fold for insertion.

Using a menstrual cup is slow going. It's not nearly as quick as using a tampon with an applicator. Using a menstrual cup is something that you have to get the hang of, but well worth it to avoid the mystery materials big, inconsiderate companies use to make pads and tampons. So in the pursuit of a greener, healthier period, I see period panties as a means to host your Aunt Flo in high style.

Padkix in chevron

Padkix has returned to Kickstarter with an improved product that offers more coverage; it's an immensely popular campaign. They're offering panties in three prints in sizes small-3xl.

Two views of Carin Protect in lace and one of basic black

Carin Wear doesn't refer to underwear alone, but to a wearable sensor that snaps onto the underwear discreetly like a little button. The wearables work with an exercise app and a water intake app that help women strengthen their pelvic floor muscles and reduce unintentional urination. The sensor obtains a reading while the wearer does her pelvic exercises. The data that the wearer sees in the exercise app lets her know her progress and if she is doing the exercises correctly. The sensor also detects droplets of urine absorbed by the "smart absorbing textile." According to the team behind Carin Wear, this textile can also hold 4 teaspoons (19.7 ml) of menses and the women using the underwear have never detected any odor.

I think Carin Wear could benefit so many women in a number of ways. The strength of the pelvic floor is also important to sexual health meaning that this system has applications for women before childbirth, during, and after menopause. Even the underwear without the sensor sounds like an excellent pair of period panties for a light to medium flow. All of the technology involved in this project means that these panties will be delivered much later than Padkix, but I'm still going to back it because this product really needs to exist.

For your immediate period protection, consider Dear Kate. It's so brilliant that this company offers matching lingerie sets. They go beyond utility and make some really pretty pieces that allow you to build a sassy little wardrobe of underwear. (I'm loving this stained glass color they offer). These pieces are also good for summer commuting sans period because of the breathable and sweat-proof underlux material used by Dear Kate.

Thinx period panties are also available now. They offer four levels of absorbancy—more than the other collections— and six styles of panties. As a socially responsible bonus, they help girls in Uganda get an education by supporting a collective that supplies the girls with a cache of reusable menstrual pads. Fufilling the need for mentsrual products prevents the girls from missing school due to their periods.

Important Update: Now— June 21, 2016— through September 30th you'll receive a 25% discount when you use the code CyclesChic25 on your purchase at I'm using this immediately in the hopes that I can get some extra protection before my period arrives. This time, I'm coming for you, Flo!

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Maira Gall